Maryland Sustainable Growth Awards Recognize People and Projects Advancing Sustainable Growth and Conservation in Maryland

In Case You Missed It!

by David Buck, Director, Office of Communications, with Kristen E. Humphrey, MLA, Local Assistance and Training Planner

The Maryland Department of Planning proudly wishes to acknowledge the recipients of the ninth annual Maryland Sustainable Growth Awards for leadership and community planning!

At a virtual ceremony attended by more than 70 people in mid-December, Planning presented the awards recognizing the outstanding individuals, organizations, and programs that best exemplify well-planned economic and community development initiatives throughout the state.

“These awards recognize people and projects from across Maryland that bring creativity, innovation, and passion to our communities,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Our administration is proud to honor and celebrate their commitment to helping change Maryland for the better.” 

The 10 winners have demonstrated their commitment to sustainable growth – development or redevelopment that is compact, walkable, and takes advantage of existing infrastructure while preserving the rural landscape – in Maryland. 

“Resourcefulness, innovation, and creativity are all part of what makes Maryland a leader in cultural preservation, community and economic development, and environmental stewardship,” said Planning Secretary Robert McCord. “I congratulate all of the winners for their efforts that not only demonstrate how we should look at the built and the natural environment, [but also] help to revitalize and improve the quality of life in their communities.”

The winners of the 2021 Maryland Sustainable Growth Awards, by category, are:


Greg Bowen – Greg Bowen’s dedication to his home and his community, the practice of planning, and to land preservation in southern Maryland and throughout the state, defines a 40-plus-year career that continues not far from where it started. He has been a steadfast advocate for land use, preservation, and sustainability, leading the way for many projects and ideas that have benefitted Maryland’s agriculture and forestry community.

Rosa Hance – Rosa Hance began her leadership role as a volunteer activist and continues to be a tireless advocate for sustainable land use, development, and community policies in southern Maryland and throughout the state.

Leadership awards are for activities or accomplishments that advance public appreciation, understanding or involvement in promoting smart growth and sustainable communities at the state, regional, or local level.

Leadership awards are for activities or accomplishments that advance public appreciation, understanding or involvement in promoting smart growth and sustainable communities at the state, regional, or local level.

Sustainable Communities

Anne Arundel County Plan2040 – As one of the state’s most populous and fastest growing counties, Anne Arundel County is at the forefront of managing growth in Maryland by focusing on quality of life in its many desirable neighborhoods. Plan2040 set a new standard for community engagement and collaboration in the county and is a model for other jurisdictions to consider when preparing a new comprehensive plan.

Montgomery County Complete Streets Design Guide – Since 1931, Montgomery County has been a national leader in roadway classification. As road design practices changed over the years, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation and Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Montgomery County Planning Department determined that a new street classification system based on complete streets principles was needed and jointly developed the Complete Streets Design Guide in 2021.

Black Women Build – Baltimore – Founded in 2017 by Shelley Halstead, Black Women Build – Baltimore is a homeownership and wealth building initiative that provides training programs in carpentry, electrical, and plumbing to help African American women rehabilitate and acquire homes in neighborhoods of West Baltimore.

E.M.A.G.E. Center – Citywide Youth Development, a nonprofit established in 2010 to address challenges of crime and poverty facing Baltimore City’s youth, saw the need for a training facility to promote youth entrepreneurship and job opportunities by launching the Entrepreneurs Making And Growing Enterprises (E.M.A.G.E) Center.

Velocity Center – The Velocity Center, originally a warehouse located in an economically challenged part of Indian Head, provides resources that bring businesses and entrepreneurs back to the area, while also acting as a center for innovation, experimentation, and workforce development for current and future scientists and engineers. Managed by the College of Southern Maryland, this project was a collaboration of local, state, and federal partners.

Sustainable Communities awards are plans, programs, people or organizations chosen for facilitating or creating development that addresses at least one or more of Maryland’s 12 Planning Visions.


J.C. Parks Elementary School “Connecting to Our Watershed” – The Pomonkey School Stream is one of the healthiest tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay, but was threatened by stormwater runoff from the J.C. Parks Elementary School, near Indian Head in western Charles County. Since 2011, students and their mentors have transformed the school’s turf to treat runoff, enhance the environment, and serve as an outdoor classroom.

Frederick County’s Agriculture Innovation Grant Program – To sustain farming as well as farmland, Frederick County in 2021 created the Agricultural Innovation Grant Program. Farmers receive grants to expand their businesses, create value-added products, and diversify their revenue streams. The program spurs job creation and investment in the county and provides local food to Frederick County residents.

Carroll County Agricultural Land Preservation Program – For almost 50 years, Carroll County has worked to keep land in cultivation, utilizing multiple preservation tools. Through these efforts, Carroll County has preserved more land through Maryland’s farmland preservation program than any other county in Maryland. 

Preservation/Conservation Project awards are presented to individuals, organizations, government agencies, and other entities for their accomplishments in protecting or improving farms, forests, natural resources, and the waters of Maryland.

Congratulations to the 2021 Sustainable Growth Award Winners!

The ten award winners were chosen from a total of 25 outstanding nominations. We look forward to featuring work from among all the nominees, so be sure to check out future editions of Planning Practice Monthly!

For more information about the Maryland Sustainable Growth awards, please contact Chuck Boyd, Director of Planning Coordination, at

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